The month of May is an outstanding one here at camp as we deliver quality outdoor education programs to over 1,000 students that visit us for field trips while simultaneously gearing up for the Best Summer Ever at Flat Rock. The volume of incoming calls and e-mails goes way up as well as parents confirm details for their child’s camp experience and one of the most common questions is asking what does my child need to bring to camp. Every camp parent wants their child to have a great experience and they do not want to forget something that was on the packing list. We understand the importance of this and if you need our packing list you can find it on page 8 of our Parent Guide . We also stock many commonly forgotten items to be prepared for the inevitable need for sunscreen or a tooth brush.
However the packing list we are most focused on is what your child will be bringing home from camp and while we hope that all of the socks they brought make it in the suitcase they are not even in the top 5 on this list. Everything we do here at camp is aimed at your children going home with the things on this list. All the camp songs, fishing, swimming, kayaking, climbing, bracelet making, campfires, games, and activities are a means to an end. Here are the top 3 items we are working on your camper bringing home.
The YMCA Core Values of Caring, Honesty, Respect, and Responsibility
The core values of the YMCA are at the heart of our camp and we hope that throughout their time at our camp each camper internalizes them as the guiding force in their lives. We want kids to have them as an anchor in the storms of life and as compass to navigate the challenges and decisions in front of them. Our staff works to role model them, our programs discuss how to practice them in our camp community and back home, and our campers remembers them for years to come.
Now more than ever camp has an important role to play in helping kids secure the earned confidence and grit they need for future success. Confidence that comes from climbing the alpine tower higher than they thought they could, from trying a new activity, from overcoming home sickness, from successfully navigating a week or more of life without the intercession of their parents. This kind of confidence is far different than simply having someone tell you you’re great or a participation trophy. Here at camp kids often have a chance to express themselves and learn to be more comfortable in their own skin and see how much they are capable of on their own. Increased self reliance is one of the truly great benefits of residential camp and extremely difficult to duplicate elsewhere.
Friends and the Ability to Make Friends
Camp is a place where children make new friends some of whom can last a lifetime, just ask many of our Flat Rock Alumni. The community that forms here is a big part of the magic. Even more important than that is that children learn how to make friends which will serve them well for the rest of their lives. Our counselors help teach it and our campers become adept at developing a positive relationship with a diverse group of people they just met. This includes people from all walks of life and at our camp, people from across the globe. One of the biggest findings from the landmark Harvard Study was the important role that forming positive relationships has on our happiness and health.
This Summer and every year we are hard at work on this packing list of each of our campers to take home. We know that parents want these things for their child as well and we look forward to partnering with you on their development!